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I am a veteran and ride a motorcycle so it is no surprise to some that I am also a member of the Patriot Guard (PGR). But I'm willing to bet most of you have no clue who we are or what we do, or why.

The Patriot Guard was born in protest. Literally. But it is NOT a protest group. Nor is it political or religious. It represents an interesting cross section of America. Not all of us are bikers. Not all of us are veterans. We simply care about our troops and want to show our support and respect for them, especially when they have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Even if you don't ride or aren't a veteran, won't you join us?

Why would I even ask?

From The PGR web site:

It all started back in early August of 2005 with the American Legion Riders chapter 136 from Kansas. They were appalled to hear that a fallen hero's memory was being tarnished by misguided religious zealots who were protesting at funerals. They decided to do something about it. At the ALR 136 August  meeting,  Director : Chuck " Pappy " Barshney appointed members, Terry "Darkhorse" Houck, Cregg "Bronco 6" Hansen, Steve "McDaddy" McDonald, and Bill "Wild Bill" Logan to form a committee to strategize and form a battle plan to combat Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church.

When they heard that the WBC was going to protest at the Funeral of Sgt. John Doles in Chelsea, Oklahoma, they established a Mission Statement, which included getting the families permission and contacting Law Enforcement and other Motorcycle Groups in Oklahoma. They agreed that their ultimate goal was to get veterans and motorcycle organizations involved in every state so that each state could handle the situation internally and not rely on other states to do the job.  They were very successful in mustering riders to honor Sgt. Doles and limiting the intrusion by the WBC.

The WBC is the religious group, comprised basically of a single family, which has protested at soldier's funerals claiming that God kills our troops with IEDs because God hates homosexuals. (I kid you not!)

Since then it has evolved (we have been extremely effective at drowning out the protesters) into about 45,000+ members that show up --- only when invited - to funerals as well as "welcome home" and "send off" celebrations.

The reason I think some of you might like to participate is that at almost every one of these "missions" that I have been on in California, there has been concern expressed that "Cindy Sheehan might show up!" This obviously means I am surrounded by well meaning but uninformed persons and I feel it would be nice to make this group less red and more purple. (I mean, why or when has Cindy Sheehan ever protested "against" the troops?)

I understand that this type of organization is not for everyone. In fact, attending these funerals is a damn difficult thing to do. But I'm willing to bet there are a lot of other "left wing liberals" out there, like myself, that would be quite happy to take a day off from work every now again to show respect for a fallen Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, or Coast Guardsman.

And, it is questionable exactly how much difference (politically) it would make because we almost never discuss politics since that isn't why we are there.

Still, I thought you might at least like to know that you are welcome.

Patriot Guard Riders Mission Statement

   The Patriot Guard Riders is a diverse amalgamation of riders from across the nation. We have one thing in common besides motorcycles. We have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America's freedom and security. If you share this respect, please join us.

   We don't care what you ride, what your political views are, or whether you're a "hawk" or a "dove". It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn't matter where you're from or what your income is.  You don't even have to ride. The only prerequisite is Respect.

   Our main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family. Each mission we undertake has two basic objectives.

1. Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.

2. Shield the mourning family and friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.

   We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means.

I'd also like to add that attending these events, with such a cross section of people, has shown me that the very best of America is still alive and well even if it is under a brutal, non-stop attack by those in government who seem to have forgotten what America is truly about.

To learn more or find out about a "mission" near you, visit:

Originally posted to TekBoss on Fri Aug 04, 2006 at 03:50 PM PDT.

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